George Lucas was on The Daily Show the other night, and while it was sad watching Jon Stewart have to pretend that nerds still think of Lucas as the hero who created Star Wars, and not as the villain who keeps trying to retroactively f*ck it up, Lucas (Ol’ Cat Eater, I like to call him) did a wise thing. With his new movie Red Tails coming out (you can watch the first seven minutes after the jump), which he didn’t direct, though he did apparently direct some of the re-shoots, including “small character moments” (a terrifying prospect, like having an autistic kid rewrite your dialog), he talked less about the movie than he did about the difficulty of getting a film with an all-black cast made in Hollywood. Wait, whaaa?
“We’ve been working on it 23 years. I financed it myself, and I figured I could get the prints and ads paid for by the studios, and that they would release it, and I showed it to all of them, and they said noooo. ‘We don’t know how to market a movie like this.’
“It’s because it’s an all-black movie. There’s no major white roles in it at all. It’s one of the first, all-black action pictures ever made.
“It’s a reasonably expensive movie. See, normally black movies, Tyler Perry movies or something, they’re very low budget, and even they won’t release his movies. It goes to one of the lower, not-major distributors, and they do well, but they do a certain amount of money, and they know what that is, and this cost more than what those movies make. And they don’t believe that there’s any foreign market for it. And that’s 60 percent of their profit.”
For a guy I normally ridicule for stuffing endless handfuls of nerd-money into his bulgy neck pouch, this was a brilliant move. Now, it doesn’t matter how corny and derivative it is, you have to go see it just to prove big, racist Hollywood wrong (meanwhile, I like to shout “HOW YOU LIKE THAT, MR. HITLER?!” every time I cut a fart). Already I’ve seen black comics I know talking up Red Tails on Facebook because of this, which is pretty weird for a hokey WWII movie. I can’t even say Lucas is lying (though I will say that I don’t remember Michael Bay ever talking about how hard it was getting Bad Boys made), even though 23 years ago would’ve been just a couple years before Tuskeegee Airmen came out (which got Laurence Fishburne a Golden Globe nomination, so it’s not like people hadn’t heard of it), which is essentially the exact same movie as this, and that could’ve been part of studios not wanting to release it. Because it’s probably mostly true. Studios always have some retarded voodoo math they do, because it keeps up the pretense that you can predict this stuff with numbers, which is far better for your job security than risking having an actual opinion on anything. So now, instead of George Lucas: Cheesy Movie Dork, he gets to be George Lucas: Champion of the Black Man, and no one can fully deny it. And so I guess there’s nothing left to say except well played, you fat overrated hack.
The first seven minutes of Red Tails. [via Indiwire]
Lucas on the Daily Show.